Before using the Greenstalk Vertical Grow System, I always believed the best way to garden was either directly in the ground or in raised beds. I never considered using any kind of vertical system. My reasons were varied. However, my greatest concern was crowding. I assumed that cramming too much into one space would certainly cause disease problems. Without proper circulation, I was just asking for trouble.
I was wrong
Since using a vertical grow system, I must say I ‘m convinced this is a great addition to my traditional gardening methods. I’m not advocating abandoning your raised beds or traditional in-the-ground garden. But I do suggest you give vertical gardening a try.
Benefits of growing vertically
One reason I resisted vertical gardening in a tower was air circulation. I thought putting too many plants together in one area would not allow proper air to flow around them. As it turns out, circulation is actually improved as each section is far enough away from the others so it’s not a problem. And the fact it is elevated actually helps with air flow underneath the unit.
It’s raining today and the forecast is for a lot more of it the next few days. I decided to pull a few books off the shelf to flip through and gain inspiration. I’ve mentioned before that I have 4 huge bookshelves full of gardening, survival and homesteading books, so the task was daunting. What do I read?
After staring for 15 minutes wondering what to pick, I decided to pull three of my favorites, ones that I thought I could share with my readers.
#1 The Holistic Orchard by Michael Phillips
Great instructional book for the small grower. In The Holistic Orchard, Michael Phillips shows you how to adapt to nature rather than try to change it.
His healthy, holistic approach to maintaining an orchard is a refreshing change from the standard teachings of modern orchardists.
#2 Lasagna Gardening by Patricia Lanza
Lasagna gardening is a no till, little work way to generated compost by layering. No turning or taking your soils’ temperature. Just stack your browns and greens alternating between each. Let it sit for a few months and then plant. Gardening can’t get any simpler that this.
#3 Four Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman
Four Season Harvest is all about growing year round. This book has been the standard for so many people wanting to grow food for their families all year long.
First out of the box, you can’t help but notice how well thought out this design is. The holes along the side will allow you to attach it to either a binder or carabiner. Anywhere you carry this, because of its design, you probably will forget you even have it with you.
The biggest plus that sets this device apart from all the others, is the built in micro SD cable. No need to carry (and lose) you own cable.
1 – USB output port 5,100 mAH/2.4 amp
1 – Micro USB input for charging the device
9.8 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
My continued quest to maintain independence during grid failure.
I’ve been in dozens of situations that make me uneasy. The last one being a five day outage at home due to a wind storm in Southern Oregon. From then on, I’ve been on a quest to provide my family with uninterrupted power when (not if) the grid goes down again.
For the last few years, I’ve reviewed multiple portable solar devices, however I only recommend ones that I deem worthy of our attention.
Although I believe my demands are not too unreasonable, there are a few requirements that need to be met.
#1. I need a solar charger that will keep my Galaxy S3 cell phone completely juiced during the duration of the outage.
#2. I need enough power to keep my Black Diamond Revolt Headlamp fully charged.
#3. I would like to have a fully charged external power pack like the Jumpr Slate Power Bank
The Ascent Solar Kickr IV Portable Solar Charger Specs.
6.5 Watts Unregulated/6.0 Watt, 5 Volt System Regulated
Solar Cell Type: CIGS
1.2 Amps (USB Port)
The built in USB Port will give you 1.2 amps of charging power. Although this will not be enough to charge an iPad or the Galaxy note 10, it’s certainly enough to charge most widely available portable power packs.
Charging my Samsung Galaxy S3
The first test was my cell phone.
I awoke at 7am, (in Alaska that’s late)
I let the phone run down to 10%, set the solar charger in full sun and plugged it in.
Total Charge Time:
Phone turned off – 2 hours 15 mins
Phone turned on – 3 hours 45 mins.
With about 25% juice left in the power bank, I plugged it into the solar charger under full sun.
Total Charge Time: 6 hours 10 mins
As you can see, I was able to charge all three devices in one full day. We do however have longer summer daylight here in Alaska. But if you’re in an area that can give you 11 hours of daylight, you should have the same results.
Comes in recyclable packaging
Faster charging than other solar chargers I’ve tested in it’s price range and size
Foldable and lightweight, great for carry.
Grommets to secure while unattended or for hanging.
Able to charge multiple power banks
Cons: Has trouble putting out a charge under low light conditions, like dawn, dusk and cloudy days.
USB port too close to the pad making it difficult to slide the cable in and out.
The fact that I’m able to charge multiple power banks, makes me glad to own this charger. For its size, it packs a wallop, folds nicely into a backpack, is lightweight and durable.
If you’re looking for a powerful portable solar charger for backpacking, camping or piece of mind when the grid goes down, you should take a serious look at the Ascent Solar Kickr IV Portable Solar Charger
GYH Rating 4.5/5 stars
While Ascent Solar sent me the product for review, The opinions on this charger are based on my own honest experiences and reflect my personal use of the product.
If you’ve ever been in a power outage, I’ll bet the first thing you did was run to kitchen to grab the candles and matches. Because, I know that running to the nightstand for the flashlight is futile since it isn’t there. Who knows where it ended up. Besides, the last time I used it I had to shake it continuously just to make the contacts work enough to see little flickers of light out of it. Piece of junk. Candle will never fail you, except they burn down, smell horribly and make you stay up worrying about when the wick burns down will the house (and me) still be here in the morning.
It is powered by 3 AAA batteries or the 3.7 volt rechargeable 18650 battery.
There are 5 modes. Low, medium, high, strobe and SOS.
The casing is made of steel with a raised surface for easy grip.
Battery time on the AAA is about 1.5 hours of intermittent use.
I’ve also been told this flashlight can be mounted as a tactical light.
After field testing, my initial analysis is that I would guess the output to be somewhere around 800 lumens.
It is still the brightest mini flashlight I now own.
Well, I went and did it. I finally bought a compost tumbler. After years of fighting the racoons and bears I decided to break down. Stay tuned for videos of me filling it and explaining how I compost.
If you would like to purchase one, I recommend here: Lifetime 80 Gallon Compost Tumbler